Plan for new laws to protect Indian workers
Manama, September 12, 2007
New restrictions are to be enforced to protect Indian workers in the Gulf from rogue employers and agents.
Indians recruited for jobs in the Gulf and their employers will have to sign contracts attested by the respective Indian missions, with effect from next month, it was revealed in New Delhi yesterday.
Rogue agents in India will also face prosecution under the new regulations.
'We have finalised a model work contract, which every worker emigrating and his foreign employer will have to sign,' said Overseas Indian Affairs Minister Vayalar Ravi.
These and other recommendations will be put into effect very soon, he said on the concluding day of a two-day conference of Indian ambassadors to 10 countries, including Bahrain.
'In deliberations over two days, our main focus has been on the welfare of overseas Indian workers,' Ravi said at the conference, attended by Indian envoys to the six GCC countries, Malaysia, Jordan, Libya and Yemen.
The model contract will specify the basic monthly salary, hours of work, overtime pay, salary payment by cheque, termination of contract including clause on termination by employee and employer respectively and free transportation and medical check-up for the worker.
The model contract will be applied with necessary country-specific modifications in all countries, Indian Ambassador Balkrishna Shetty told the GDN, from New Delhi.
'The contract will have to be attested by the Indian missions in the respective countries,' he added.
'The new decision is expected to come into effect on October 1.'
Shetty said ambassadors expressed different views on issues such as fixing a minimum wage for Indian housemaids and other household workers in the Gulf.
'The recommendations will be studied in detail before any final decision on such matters is taken,' he added.
'It was decided to undertake a massive publicity campaign on job situations in the Gulf and what measures job-seekers should take to protect themselves from various forms of exploitation.
'Recruiting agents in India who exploit workers will be strictly dealt with.
'Efforts will also be taken to prepare an accurate database on Indian workers seeking jobs in the Gulf.'
Shetty said the Indian government would finance various welfare projects for the community, undertaken by Indian missions in the Gulf.
There are around five million Indians in the six GCC countries of the UAE, Saudi Arabia, Bahrain, Oman, Qatar and Kuwait.
Many of them are working as contract labourers in the booming construction industry there.
In Malaysia, people of Indian origin constitute about eight per cent of the country's population of around 24 million.
Many of them had migrated decades ago from India to work in the rubber plantations in the Southeast Asian nation.
Jordan, Yemen and Libya also have large numbers of Indian workers. - TradeArabia News Service